Echthros – Despised Adversary
The False Prophet…
The third chapter of Sha’uwl’s letter to the Galatians reached a bitter conclusion, but its demon-possessed and psychotic author was not yet satisfied. He remained committed to denouncing the Torah as his fourth stroke against God commenced. Word by word Paul would build his case for Faith. It would be so simple, it would appeal to a child.
"So (de – but) I say (lego), as long as (epi – upon / hosos – as much / chromos – time) the (o) heir (kleronomos – one who receives an inheritance by lot) exists as (estin) a small child (nepios – an infant or baby, childish, immature, uneducated, and undisciplined), he is no different than (oudeis diaphero – he is no more valuable than) a slave (doulos), belonging to (on – being) the lord and master (kurios – the ruler and owner one who controls and has possession) of everyone and everything (pas – of all)." (Galatians 4:1)
Recognizing slaves are owned, and thus do not own, and that slaves are subject to lords, so they do not act as lords, given the opportunity to render on as "belonging to" or "being," I made the obvious choice. And yet as you shall soon discover, most every English bible translation, holding a jaundiced view of the "Lord," opted to advance an oxymoron.
More importantly, those who speak for God write: "Yahowah said...." Those advancing their own agenda in opposition to Him write: "But I say." And those who speak for Him don’t suggest that His Torah enslaves, or that God acts like a "lord, controlling everyone."
Inspiring the political slogan that swept Barak Obama into power, Paul has laid his foundation for "Change we can believe in." Too bad the wannabe apostle and president sought to lord over everyone, leading them in the wrong direction.
Realizing also that this statement is an adjunct to what we have just read, Sha’uwl is attempting to say that while the "small child is an heir" to the promise there is "no benefit" "so long as the child remains" "enslaved" to the "Lord" of the Torah. He is inferring that if believers were to reject the Torah and accept his "Pauline Promise" on faith that they would be free to grow. And yet since the terms and conditions associated with our growth are delineated in only one place, the Torah’s depiction of the Covenant remains indispensible.
But in the end, it all comes down to a simple choice: do you believe Paul or do you trust Yahowah? God tells us to cling to His Torah as if our lives depended upon it, and Sha’uwl has told us to discard it so that we might be free. If Yahowah is trustworthy, Paul is not. If Yahowah is reliable, Paul is His adversary.
Most Christians would interpret this "verse" as demarking the change between "being held in bondage to the Law" and the "freedom given to those who place their faith in the Gospel of Grace." For them it is thus the transition from the "Old Testament" to their "New Testament," with the latter being vastly superior, less demanding, and infinitely more accommodating.
Christian apologists would also say that Paul’s letters provide the nourishment "New Testament" children need to grow once they are free of the Torah and its mean-spirited Lord. But in reality, Paul never provides the nutrition (defined as God’s Word) required to grow, preferring instead to dish out his own personal brand of poison. Truth is upended and inverted, because according to Yah, His Torah’s pivotal story is the liberation of His children from human bondage so that those who accept His Covenant might become His heirs.
Paul’s Greek was so lacking that a handful of words had to be added to the text to resolve the grammatical deficiencies of this sentence. For example, in the Nestle-Aland, we find: "I say but on as much as time the inheritor infant is nothing he differs of slave master of all being." Yet since the King James Version was a translation of the Latin Vulgate, these deficiencies were irrelevant. It reads: "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all." Even as Yahowah’s child, we are not "lord of all." Moreover, being Yahowah’s "servant" is something to aspire to, not disdain. However, it is evident that Jerome’s Vulgate inspired the English bible: "As long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all."
As if they felt authorized to write their own letter, the New Living Translation magically transformed Paul’s meager, inadequate, and errant suggestion into: "Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had."
Before we move on to the next plank, there is something curious about kurios. It was translated "the lord and master" in this passage because that is the word’s primary meaning. It could have also been rendered "owner," which while accurate, would have been an uncommon depiction. Kurios is from kuros, which means "supremacy in the sense of being powerful, strong, and authoritative." When the Disciples used it in reference to Yahowah or Yahowsha’, it was always represented by a Divine Placeholder, which stood for "Yahowah" or the "Upright One" respectively, consistent with how the same placeholders were deployed throughout the Septuagint. And yet on those 667 occasions, "new testament" translators have universally ignored their established symbolism and have printed "Lord" instead. In the relatively few times in which kurios was written out, as it is here, it is rendered "lord," with a lower case "l" 54 times, as "master" 11 times, and as "sir" 6 times by these same religious publications. And yet, kurios’ primary meaning, which is "owner," is only found once in the most popular English translations.
Since Sha’uwl’s Greek remains wanting, let’s continue to reach out to the Nestle-Aland for help. "But under governors he is and managers until the purpose of the father." Considering this synopsis, it appears as if Paulos is attempting to combine his first two codicils. According to the wannabe apostle: those who observe the Torah are subservient to a Taskmaster, therefore the Torah which imposed this condition was designed for obsolescence. Then if we are to believe the Nestle-Aland, "the purpose of the father" wasn’t expressed by His earlier contrivances, even though God clearly authored those arrangements. So why, if we are to take this translation of Paul seriously, would our Heavenly Father conceive a plan that was opposed to His will?
"Certainly (alla – but yet and by contrast with an adversarial implication), he is (eimi) under the auspices of (hypo) foremen who control the workers (epitropos – the manager or governor in charge over laborers (plural)) and (kai) administrators (oikonomos – managers of an estate who have legal authority over an inheritance; from oikos, household, and nomos, a nourishing allotment to become an heir (plural)) until (achri) the (o) previously appointed time set (prothesmia – the period prearranged, established, and fixed beforehand; from pro, before, and tithemi, to arrange and set in place) of the (tou) Father (ΠΡΣ)." (Galatians 4:2) The intent is now obvious.
Epitropos, rendered "foremen who control the workers," is a compound of epi, "by," and tropos: "a manner, way, or fashion." It speaks of "those who are in control," whether they are "managers, foremen, political officials, or even governors." It is another way of saying that the Torah’s God is authoritarian and controlling and that His approach is burdensome and laborious. These mischaracterizations are designed to make Paul and his Faith appear preferable.
He continues to deploy one derogatory metaphor after another to besmirch the Towrah and its Author. Since he first foisted paidagogos, "enslaved leader of boys" or "taskmaster," in Galatians 3:24, this approach has become curious to say the least. Wouldn’t this positioning of the God of freewill and empowerment as controlling, stunting the growth of His children, make Sha’uwl Yahowah’s adversary? In his tortured attempt to make the Torah appear passé, the author of the Christian New Testament is steadfastly undermining his own credentials.
Even in this sentence, the epitropos, "foremen," and oikonomos, "estate administrators," are strange bedfellows. The first reference is to those who on behalf of the political authority direct and control common laborers, and the second describes property and money managers hired by a homeowner. They are incompatible concepts, and neither are appropriate in reference to the Torah, even when trying to belittle it.
Especially troubling, Paul is attempting to say that the Torah was a temporary administrator, but both epitropos and oikonomos are plural. And yet there is only one Torah, so this was clearly a gaffe in reasoning. And while there is more than one source of Rabbinic Law, we can’t use this as an excuse because the "foremen" and "managers" are working on behalf of the "Father" at the end of the passage, and there is no association between Rabbinic Law and our Heavenly Father.
To their credit, the New American Standard Bible accurately conveyed Paul’s message, but unfortunately, the resulting rendering promotes the idea that the Father appointed a time in which His initial foremen and managers would become obsolete. NASB: "But he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father." The only rational, albeit inaccurate, conclusion is that Paul was saying that God planned for the Torah to be outmoded and superseded. But if that’s true, then neither Yahowah, the Torah, nor Yahowsha’ can be trusted because they said that every aspect of the Torah would remain in effect for as long as the universe exists. So, this passage once again pits Paul against God and against reason. It is becoming increasingly difficult for an informed and rational person to believe him.
The KJV rendition of this passage mistranslated "epitropos – foremen" and "oikonomos – household managers": "But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father." And they did so because the Authorized King James Bible was nothing more than an English translation of the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate: "But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father."
Since there is no basis for "they have to obey their" or "until they reach whatever" in the Greek text, the NLT is little more than a flight into the realm of fantasy. "They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set." Further, "Father" was rendered with a Divine Placeholder, meaning that ΠΡΣ was meant to be capitalized and represent our Heavenly "Father."
Moving on, we find that Paul’s word choices in this next statement are far more damaging than in the previous one, so let’s begin our review with the Nestle-Aland McReynolds Interlinear. "Thusly also we when we were infants under the elements the world we were having been enslaved." These folks, as we have seen, while slavishly accurate grammatically, have taken great liberty in their renderings of the words, themselves. But translating stoicheion as "elements," completely subverts its intent.
To be fair, most every Pauline advocate is stumped by the selection of stoicheion, rendered stoicheia here in the accusative plural. And that is perhaps why it was timidly and inadequately translated "elements" in the NA interlinear. The provocative term was often acknowledged in Plato’s writings and is ubiquitous in the philosophy and cosmology of Greek antiquity, especially among the Stoics. Specifically, stoicheion was used to "differentiate between the cults of the elements, those being earth, water, air, and fire, and the celestial bodies, all of which were worshipped as deities through Hellenistic syncretism." Stoicheion is, therefore, a pagan religious term, and would have been read as such by enlightened Greeks, especially when deployed in conjunction with "kosmos" in a religious text.
This is a problem of unfathomable magnitude because Paul is using it to describe, or more specifically, to mischaracterize Yahowah’s Towrah – a book which universally denounces religion, especially the worship of the elements and celestial bodies. But now Sha’uwl wants us to believe that God’s Torah is advocating what it condemns. This is not unlike his claim in Romans 7 that the Towrah was the source of his personal perversion s.
In that stoicheion is the most dishonest and disdainful criticism Paul has wielded against God’s Word, and especially His Towrah, since he called His "old system malicious" in Galatians 1:4, before we consider an amplified translation of Galatians 4:3, we are best served by coming to grips with why the word was selected and what it actually meant. And toward this goal, let’s turn to the lexicons at our disposal.
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, as the name implies, is a Christian publication. They are, therefore, committed to defending Paul even if they have to incriminate themselves in the process. So after conveying the perspective presented in quotations three paragraphs ago, they opined: "It is much disputed whether stoicheia (Galatians 4:3 and 4:9) is to be understood within this syncretistic context [of pagan mythology], and resolution of the question depends on whether Paul has picked up a catchword used by his Galatian adversaries. If this is the case, then the false teachers demonstrate not only a Judaizing tendency (Galatians 5:1-4), but also a Hellenistic syncretistic tendency that included worship of the cosmic elements and observance (Galatians 4:10) of the special dates and festivals." One lie has simply led to many others.
Should you be curious, syncretism is defined as the "combination of different forms of belief or practice." In this context, it specifically refers to the "incorporation of pagan mythology into Christianity" by the Roman Catholic Church "to make the subsequent religion more popular and appealing." All three so-called "Abrahamic religions," Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are guilty of syncretism, but Christianity and Islam are nothing but syncretistic – more religious myth than inspired testimony. And while Christianity and Islam run afoul of their monotheistic claims with their Trinity and Satanic Verses, it is the festivals, religious rites, and symbols of the Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman mythologies that were incorporated into the more modern religions, allowing the myths associated with many gods to reside in their one god.
Along these lines, "Judaizers" were invented by Paul. They are as mythical as today’s "Palestinians." There is no mention of them anywhere in history. Apart from the psychotic recesses of this man’s mind, and in the minds of those he beguiled, they do not exist. And as we know, Paul has identified his foes, and they are the Disciples Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan.
More twisted still, "Judaizing" is a complete misrepresentation of what it means to be Torah observant. Yahowsha’ and His Disciples closely examined and carefully considered the Towrah and encouraged everyone to do the same regardless of race, time, or place. And while they were not "Judaizing" with this approach, if they had been, then Yahowsha’ was a "Judaizer." So by proposing this argument, Christians strike a fatal blow against their religion.
In reality, Judaizer is a straw man, a debate fallacy whereby the presenter, rather than refuting the merits of his opponent’s case, creates an imaginary foe who is easier to defeat. But all that proves is that the presenter, in this case Paul, is both incompetent and deceptive.
Also, if it is true that "Paul picked up a catchword used by his Galatian adversaries" then he was not inspired by God, thereby, once again undermining the foundation of the Christian religion. Further incriminating this approach, if historians were to define Jews with a single word, their designation would be "monotheistic." The last thing anyone an informed and rational individual would ascribe to Yahuwdym would be the promotion of deifying the sun, moon, planets, and stars. And yet that is what Paul, and with Christian scholars following his lead, who are proposing to justify the incorporation of stoicheion into this letter.
To their credit, and to their religion’s shame, the Christian theologians who contributed to the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament acknowledged that Paul was using stoicheion to renounce the Torah. And in doing so, they showed their bias for many of Sha’uwl’s most egregious mischaracterizations, writing: "More likely Paul uses this term, known to him from (Stoic) popular philosophy, on his own initiative to designate collectively both the Jewish Torah, which the false teachers understood as a path to salvation and advised the Galatians to follow at least in part (Galatians 5:3), and the previous Gentile piety of the Galatians (4:3 and 4:8). He considered both to be manifestations of that power presently enslaving human beings (4:3, 4:5, 4:8), a power that nonetheless appears "beggarly" compared to the huiothesia [adoption] of verse 5, such power was the basis of human religious existence before Christ." If this assessment is accurate, God is a liar.
This is as good a time as any to affirm that Christian theologians readily acknowledge that Paul was attacking the Torah, just as they are doing here. And they view such denunciations as valid, even though it means repudiating the testimony of the God Paul claims inspired him. So, like Paul, they perpetuate the myth of a "Jewish Torah," using "Jewish" as a pejorative term, because accurately labeling it "Yahowah’s Towrah" would make it obvious that their religion was in opposition to God and His Word. In an informed and rational world, this argument alone would be sufficient to negate the veracity of the religion.
But even in the midst of their religious chicanery, there is nugget of truth. The "teachers" Sha’uwl has been opposing, "understood" that "the Torah" represented the "path to salvation." The Disciples, or "Taught Ones," therefore "advised the Galatians to follow" the Towrah’s teaching, instruction, and guidance. It is what Yahowah said, it is what Yahowsha’ taught, so we should not be surprised it is what the Disciples Shim’own, Ya’aqob, and Yahowchanan conveyed. Everyone was singing the same song except Sha’uwl. And this means that in Paul’s world, a "false teacher" was anyone who shared God’s Word and therefore undermined his words.
Then affirming the depravity that maligns the soul of Christendom, the lexicon refers to Yahowah as "that power presently enslaving human beings," a "power that nevertheless appears ‘beggarly’ compared to adoption" into Paul’s religion. They have ingested the poison and it has rendered these theologians as adverse to God as was their mentor.
If this were not bad enough, these same Christian clerics, after admitting that Paul wrote stoicheia to besmirch the Torah, calling it the "essence of pagan religious philosophy," reveal that Paul uses the word again to present the "elemental spirits" in Colossians 2:8 and 2:20. These evil spirits "undoubtedly make use of the terminology of the false teachers in Colossae, in whose mystery-oriented philosophy such spirits might have played a significant role." To which they conclude speaking of stoicheion, "according to Stoic doctrine, the elements will perish in the final conflagration," signifying Paul’s ultimate triumph over God, I suppose.
Now that we know that stoicheia was used in Greece to describe the "religious pagan cults that grew out of the ‘elements’ of earth, water, air, and fire as they interacted with the deified celestial bodies," and that Paul equates it with "mystery spirits," let’s examine the text of Galatians 4:3...
"And also (kai), in this way, it follows that (outos – thus) when (ote – as long as and while) we (ego) were (emen – existed as) infants (nepios – small children and babies) under (upo) the (ta) elementary teachings and rudimentary principles of religious mythology (stoicheion – simplistic and basic initial precepts of the supernatural powers associated with the cults of the earth, water, air, and fire, and the deification of the sun, moon, planets, and stars) of the (tou) universal system (kosmos – worldly order, global disposition, arranged structure, or government constitution of that arrangement), we were (emeoa) subservient slaves (doulos – controlled, enslaved, and subject to obligations)." (Galatians 4:3)
Sha’uwl, who unleashed his "children" metaphor way back in Galatians 3:7, is now exploiting "as a result of the Faith, we can come to exist as Abram’s children." This was in opposition to becoming Yahowah’s children by responding to His Covenant. The proposition was advanced again with the first of several references to an "inheritance" beginning in Galatians 3:21-23: "For if, per chance, had the Torah been given the power or ability to impart life, certainly in the Torah would be the righteous. (3:21) But to the contrary, the Writing enforced restrictions, completely shutting the door on inheritance, imposing evil in order that the promise out of the Faith of Iesou Christou might be given to believers. (3:22) But before the arrival of the Faith, under the control of the Towrah, we were actually being held in custody as prisoners, restricted and trapped like fish in a net, until the bringing about of the Faith was revealed." (3:23)
It was then that Sha’uwl introduced the first of his four Towrah substitutes, beginning in Galatians 3:24-25: "As a result, the Towrah has come to exist as our disciplinarian using dogmatic old-fashioned methods extending until Christon in order that by means of the Faith we might, at some point in time, while doing nothing ourselves, be justified. (3:24) But now having come the Faith, no longer do we exist under an old-fashioned and strict authoritarian." (3:25)
This childish metaphor was augmented by: "So I say, as long as the heir exists childish and immature, he is no different than a slave, belonging to the lord and master who owns and controls everyone and everything. (4:1) Certainly, he is under the auspices of foremen who control the workers and administrators until the previously appointed time set of the Father." (4:2) Which brings us to the current extrapolation of this theme: "And also, in this way it follows that when we were infants, under the elementary teachings and rudimentary principles of religious mythology, the simplistic and basic initial precepts of the supernatural powers associated with the cults of the earth, water, air, and fire, and the deification of the sun, moon, planets, and stars of the world, we were subservient slaves." (4:3)
In this context, as these passages flow out of Galatians three and into the fourth chapter with its jarring climax, we have only one viable alternative with regard to the "paidagogos – disciplinarians," "kurios – the lord and master," "epitropos – the controlling foremen," and "oikonomos – the administrators of the inheritance" relative to the "stoicheion – rudimentary principles of religious mythology." Paul has deployed them to describe and demean Yahowah and His Torah.
This known, in Galatians 4:3, kosmos sounds familiar because it has been transliterated from Greek to become the English word "cosmos." So while it is often translated "universe, earth, or world," kosmos more accurately represents things as different as: "an arranged constitution, a decorated adornment, an estranged people who are hostile to God, and a new world order, speaking of a system of political or religious governance." It can be translated "universal system or global dispensation." Kosmos is from komeo which conveys the idea of "administrative control and the disposition of power" – which speaks to Paul’s intentions. Beyond this, some lexicons state that komeo is "a temperamental, self-absorbed personality intent on transferring custody or possession of individuals, carrying them away from one person to another." It even describes the idea of "trying to take back and recover something which was previously thought to be one’s own." So lurking under the surface there are a plethora of Satanic notions associated with kosmos—a word which appeared innocent at first blush.
And as we now know, there is nothing innocent associated with Paul’s use of stoicheion (pronounced stoy·khi·on) in this context. No matter how it is translated, it is very, very troubling when associated with Yahowah’s Torah. I say that for six very specific reasons.
First, stoicheion, translated "elementary teachings and rudimentary principles of religious mythology" in Galatians 4:3, is used again in Colossians 2:20. There, the New Living Translation says that the Ma’aseyah "has set you free from the supernatural powers (stoicheion) of this world," thereby making the stoicheion "demonic spirits." And in this Colossians passage, Paul then asks, "So why do you keep on following the rules of the world as such?" Therefore, by juxtaposing his use of stoicheion in his first letter with his last epistle, it becomes obvious that Paul wants the faithful to believe that the Torah is comprised of "demonic religious mythology."
But that’s not the end of the disparaging associations. Stoicheion also affirms that Paul wants Christians to believe that the Torah may have been nothing more than a derivative of the "initial rudimentary and natural elements which comprised the universe," and was therefore "of the world," as opposed to being from God. Another belittling connotation of stoicheion suggests that Paul was implying that the Torah’s usefulness had come to an end, in that it was just "the first step," and a "primitive, underdeveloped and childish" step at that. This is in conflict, however, with the fact that Yahowah and Yahowsha’ say that Passover is the first step toward inheriting eternal life, and that each of the remaining six steps travel through the Torah.
Yet another unflattering definition of stoicheion is derived from its root. Stoicheo speaks of "soldiers marching off (as in away from the Torah) from one place to another (as in from the "Old Testament" to the "New Testament"). Stoicheo is somewhat reminiscent of Yahowah’s depiction of His "malak – spiritual messengers" being "saba – relegated to a command and control regimen where they follow His orders." In this light, stoicheo describes "soldiers in orderly ranks, with each combatant simply following the leader, and with everyone moving in a structured line." It conveys the idea of "existing in conformity" with the instructions they have been given. There is no hint of freewill in stoicheion, thereby undermining the purpose of creating humankind or of providing us with the Torah, which was to provide the information we would require to engage in a relationship with Yahowah.
However, as a fallen spiritual messenger, stoicheion does accurately describe the only condition Satan knows—the one he rebelled against. So now Yahowah’s Adversary is having his messenger ascribe the condition he despised to the Torah, hoping that believers will swallow Sha’uwl’s poison, and like lemmings, plunge to their death. In this regard, the root meaning of kosmos may come into play. Remember komeo conveys the idea of "administrative control and the disposition of power," speaking of "a temperamental, self-absorbed personality intent on transferring custody or possession of individuals, carrying them away from one person to another." More telling still, it describes the idea of "trying to take back and recover something which was previously thought to be one’s own." Therefore, it is beginning to look like someone has let their guard down, letting us peak behind the veil.
But there are more disparaging connotations. When we investigate stoicheion’s etymological history, we find that it is akin to sustoicheo, meaning "to march in a line, one person following the other, all acting and looking the same." Paul will use this very word, translated "corresponds to," in Galatians 4:25, to associate Yaruwshalaym with the Torah in a derogatory fashion, stating that both enslave. Words which share a common root with stoicheion describe Sha’uwl’s nature and tactics and include: "sustasiastes – one who revolts and joins an insurrection," "sustatikos – introduce something," "sustauroo – to crucify someone or something," "sustello – to abridge, diminish, shorten, and enshroud so as to terminate or conceal," "sustenazo – to audibly express suffering," "sustratiotes – to be a soldier," "sustrepho – to twist something so as to change its intended meaning," and "sustrophe – to be a disorderly and rebellious individual acting in a coalition or conspiracy inappropriately blending things together in a poorly disclosed and hidden combination" so as to get people to: "suschematizo – conform, following the example set by another, and thereby change their mind, attitude, and perspective." In a word, we have Sha’uwl.
As we learned a moment ago, Greek philosophers used stoicheion to describe what they considered to be the four rudimentary and essential elements which comprised the universe: earth, water, air, and fire. As such, the Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament states the inescapable: "In Galatians 4:3, Paul calls the ceremonial ordinances of the Mosaic Law worldly elements." And in truth, we must strike "ceremonial ordinances" from this conclusion, because there is no such distinction being made by Paul, leaving us with the stark reality that the man who claimed to be speaking for God was alleging that the book Yahowsha’ said defined His life was of the world, and therefore not of God.
If we could separate this statement from this epistle, removing it from the third and fourth chapters of Galatians, and Paul’s ongoing onslaught against the Torah, then we could make the case that stoicheion kosmos was selected to assail the pagan traditions and festivals associated with worshiping the elements of the earth, in addition to the sun, stars, moon, and planets. But unfortunately, since Paul’s criticism has been focused singularly on demeaning the Torah, and not against pagan worship prevalent in Galatia at the time, there is no basis for such an interpretation. Paul has called the "old and arcane system" of "laws" that comprise Yahowah’s Towrah everything from "harsh to enslaving," from "perverted to cruel," from "incapable to obsolete," so why not "pagan and worldly."
Paul’s use of stoicheion in Colossians eliminates any chance we might otherwise have to strip the Greek word of its derogatory mythological and religious connotations. While it can convey "fundamental teachings," and "elementary doctrines," this definition simply transfers the problem we are wrestling with to the Colossian’s epistle. If stoicheion conveyed "a fundamental teaching," we’d have to ask ourselves why we are told by Paul in Colossians that his Iesou wanted to lead us away from it. And if stoicheion was the Torah’s "elementary doctrine," why would such enlightenment be considered as a source of authoritarian control that stunts our growth here in Galatians?
Also interesting with regard to the "paidagogos – taskmasters," "epitropos – foremen," "oikonomos – household managers," and "kosmos stoicheion – arranged constitution of religious mythology," we find that all four Greek terms were rendered in the plural. This suggests that Paul may well have been trying to associate the Torah with Rabbinic Law—inferring that both of these things enslave us. But even for the sake of argument, if we were to assume that worldly religious systems and Jewish Law were similar enough to group them together and justify the consistent use of the plural forms, since it’s evident that these things were never valid, nor ever associated with God, they don’t fit within the context of something previously appointed by the Father. And that leaves us with Paul associating the Torah with all six of the disparaging aspects of stoicheion—none of which are good.
What I don’t understand is how Christians have come to accept Paul’s inverted portrayal of the Torah. God’s Word describes our Heavenly Father’s relationship with man, details the liberation of God’s children, and articulates the path to our freedom. So how do they construe this to be about "enslaving" us? As unbelievable, inaccurate and counter intuitive as Sha’uwl’s upside down and revisionist world has become, it’s hard to understand why billions of people believe that his perspective is correct.
But we do know that the most important early catalyst for Pauline deception occurred when Marcion inappropriately elevated Paul’s epistles to scriptural status, and as a result, this troubled man’s letters were ultimately included in the Latin Vulgate. And here with regard to Galatians 4:3, Jerome provided a somewhat faithful, albeit grossly inadequate, translation of Paul’s errant statement: "So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world." The KJV copied them with: "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:" Based upon this context, it is highly unlikely that Paul used stoicheion to convey "elements."
From this, the NLT extrapolated: "And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world." The liberty these translators have taken with Paul’s text is breathtaking. Compare this to: "And also in this way, it follows that when we were small children under the universal arranged constitution of religious mythology, we were slaves." They have fanned the flames of Paul’s blasphemy.
However, while the words were grossly mistranslated, especially "and that’s the way it was with us before Christ came," and their "basic spiritual principles," the message was not misrepresented. Based upon the evidence, the Christian Church has correctly interpreted these passages to say that Paul thought that the Torah was elementary and childish, a crude first step, and a cruel taskmaster which oppressed and enslaved all those who observed it. According to Paul, and thus the Church, the Torah was poorly conceived and it had a negative influence on people’s lives. Apart from ignorance, there is no escaping this ungodly conclusion, one which puts Paul and the Church in direct opposition to God. Yet since the religious institution and its founding father claim to have derived their authority from God, if God cannot be trusted, they are unreliable. If you are a Christian, let that sink in.
If the Torah had been designed to last for a limited and preordained time, why did God tell His children to observe it forever? If the Torah no longer mattered after the arrival of the Ma’aseyah, why did the Ma’aseyah quote it so often? If the Torah’s influence came to a close with the "birth of Christ," why did He observe it? Was it merely a coincidence that Yahowsha’ fulfilled the Miqra’ey of Pesach, Matsah, and Bikuwrym in the precise manner described in the Torah and on the days established therein? Or if it became obsolete after His sacrifice in 33 CE, why did He tell us that while the world exists, not one jot or tittle of the Torah would be passed by until it was entirely fulfilled?
While this may be among the most important questions you have ever contemplated, my words pale in comparison to Yahowsha’s farewell message to His Disciples. These are among the most important words ever spoken:
"Now He said to them (de lego pros autos), ‘These words of Mine (outos o logos) which I spoke to you while (ego os laleo pros ou) I was with you (on sun su), because (hoti – namely by way of identification or explanation) it is necessary to (dei – inevitable and logical, beneficial and proper, as part of the plan to) completely fulfill (plerooenai – carry out fully, totally perform, accomplish, proclaim, giving true meaning to, realizing the prophetic promises of) everything (pas – all) that is written (ta grapho) in (en – in unison with and with regard to) the Towrah (to nomo) of Moseh (Mouseos – a transliteration of the Hebrew Moseh, meaning to draw out, altered to conform to Greek grammar by a scribe), the Prophets (propetais – those who proclaimed and foretold God’s message), and the Psalms (psalmois) about (peri – because of, with regard to, on behalf of, and concerning) Me.’" (Luke 24:44) God just told us the way to understand Him. Are you listening?
"Then He fully opened their minds (dianoigo nous – He explained and enabled the proper attitude and way of thinking, completely facilitating reasoning) so that they would be intelligent and have the capacity to understand (syniemi – to bring things together and make the proper connections to be enlightened, clearly perceive, gain insight, and comprehend) the Writings (graphas)." (Luke 24:45) God has told us the proper way to think, so that we might know Him and understand what He is offering. This is reminiscent of that found in Psalm 19, where we read: "Yahowah’s Towrah is complete and entirely perfect, returning and restoring the soul. Yahowah’s testimony is trustworthy and reliable, making understanding and obtaining wisdom simple for the open-minded." (Mizmowr / Song / Psalm 19:7)
Yahowsha’, speaking Hebrew, continued to address His Disciples..."He said to them, ‘Because (hoti – namely by way of explanation) in this way (houto – thus it follows), it is written (grapho) that the Implement Doing the Work of Yahowah (ΧΝ – placeholder for Ma’aseyah, from Chrestus, meaning Upright Servant and Useful Tool) must undergo and experience suffering (pascho – be afflicted because it is sensible) and rise up amidst (anistemai – to establish by taking stand in one’s midst; a compound of histemi, to stand and establish, and ana, into the midst, amidst, among, and between) out of (ek) lifeless separation (nekros) the third day." (Luke 24:46) He was speaking of His fulfillment of the Miqra’ey of Pesach, Matsah, and Bikurym—the three most important days in human history. This is the way to salvation that Sha’uwl is demeaning.
So that you are not misled by this statement, Yahowsha’ previously defined the Hebrew word translated nekros as "separation" from the father in His parable of the prodigal son, which is recorded in Luke 15:11-32. Therefore, He was predicting His reunification with His Father on "Bikuwrym – First-Born Child," not a bodily resurrection from a corpse. In this light, anistamai speaks of His soul "rising up" from She’owl and "into the midst" of the living.
After telling His Disciples that His life and sacrifice could only be understood from the perspective of acting upon what was written in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, God said...
"And it should be announced publicly (kerysso – proclaimed in a convincing manner to persuade and warn, to herald, publish, and pronounce with authority) upon (epi) His (autos – His [not "My," and thus in Yahowah’s]) name (onoma), ‘Change your perspective, attitude and thinking (metanoeo) to be forgiven and pardoned from (aphesis – to be released and liberated from) wandering from the path and missing one’s inheritance (hamartia – the consequence of being mistaken; from a, not and meros, being assigned an allotment with regard to one’s destiny),’ to all (pas) nations, races, and places (ethnos – ethnicities), commencing and leading (archomai – first beginning) from (apo) Yaruwshalaym (‘Ierousalem – transliteration of the Hebrew name Yaruwshalaym, the Source of Salvation)." (Luke 24:47)
"Metanoeo – change your perspective, attitude, and thinking," a translation of the Hebrew suwb, is an extremely important concept. Unless and until we are willing to reject religion, and view the Ma’aseyah Yahowsha’ from the perspective of the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, thinking differently by making the appropriate connections, there is no way to find, much less understand, the path to God.